BY PANOS PREVEDOUROS PHD – Hawaii weather is meant to frustrate weather forecasters. They predicted buckets of rain for Sunday and we got next to nothing. Then they predicted next to nothing for Monday and we got buckets of rain! As in the picture below.

Speaking of weather forecasts, professor Bent Flybjerg of Oxford University places weather and rail forecasters at opposite ends of the spectrum of truth and honesty.

Weather forecasters are neither deluded nor deceptive; they use some of the most complex models and report their forecast for a few days in the future. They get it right most of the time.

Honolulu Rail forecasters have used primitive models (*) and gobbles of delusion and deception (Dr. Flybjerg’s words; see graph below) to predict rail’s efficacy 20 to 30 years in the future! And they never get it right.

(*) Oahu rail forecasts were based on a relatively ancient OMPO zonal model from a 1994 survey. Much to the discredit of our local government at all levels, we have not conducted a comprehensive origin-destination survey since 1994. So we have developed a five billion dollar transportation investment using old and primitive data. We all know “garbage in, garbage out” and that’s exactly what we are dealing with here.

Do not get me started about the traffic tools they have used in the multimillion dollar analyses to predict future traffic conditions. These rock bottom tools are acceptable to Hawaii government, and FTA simply does not care about traffic conditions. However, the Federal Highway Administration has this opinion: “Equation tools are very appropriate for localized study areas like a single intersection or a highway section. Equation tools also are appropriate for a quick-and-dirty preliminary analysis that may lead to or warrant a future, more detailed analysis.” Above those tools come four more classes of tools with increasingly advanced sophistication, but hardly any of them were used in the rail EIS.